Nutrition and hydration
Bournemouth University has a free workbook on nutrition in dementia
Good nutrition and hydration are essential for all as part of a healthy lifestyle. People with dementia will have different needs depending on the stage they are at. As dementia progresses, eating and drinking adequately can be more of an issue. Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK both have helpful information available on-line:
People with dementia can be at risk of malnutrition. A self-screening tool is available on-line which includes advice on what to do, depending on the outcome. If there are nutritional concerns a referral can be made to a dietitian by any qualified health professional, such as a doctor or nurse or the SALT team:
There are often changes in appetite and complications of the natural reflexes of swallowing ability with people who have dementia (known as Dysphagia) and this must be addressed to prevent risk of harm.
Eating and drinking in dementia - SALT teams
Dementia can affect the ability to eat and drink safely. Someone with dementia may forget to chew, putting them at risk of choking or aspirating. They may also forget to swallow, or get distracted and confused during mealtimes which can make it difficult to maintain nutrition and hydration. The SALT services can assess swallowing and give advice on diet or fluid modification, as well as any changes to positioning, behaviour, utensils, etc, that may reduce any risks.
Dorset SALT use the globally recognised International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) descriptors for modified diet and fluids, more information about this can be found on the following site pages IDDSI Framework and Descriptors . These descriptors should be in use across all Trust teams and sites that work with people who require texture modification.
Eating and dementia
Below are some videos around diet and dementia, they are quite short, snappy and informative.
Using finder foods to prevent malnutrition for people with dementia
How does dementia affect eating
Top tips for finger foods - dementia
How to use fortified milk to avoid malnutrition
How to tell if someone is malnourished
What is malnutrition
The Wessex Academic Health Sciences Network (WAHSN) undertook some work into hydration in care homes and a video and toolkit are available below